Special Covid-19 Series, Issue #39

Autore : Action Institute

Data: 28-06-2021

Tipo: Other

Tematica: Action Institute

Hello, Action Institute Community!

While the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting the global economy, we at Action Institute aim at delivering a whole-rounded perspective, cutting through the noise.
Our weekly Special series approaches the effects of the virus from different perspectives: from medical facts to health policy, from economic policy to macroeconomic issues, from politics to financial markets, from technology to the impact on businesses, and more. We encourage our esteemed readers to provide us with feedback and suggestions.

This weekly issue proposes a selection of papers and articles focused on (i) Future Developments and (ii) Economic Policy.



“The future depends on what you do today.”, Mahatma Ghandi


 “Getting tangible about intangibles: The future of growth and productivity?” (McKinsey Global Institute, Eric Hazan et al., June 16th, 2021). Assuming that the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have accelerated this shift toward a dematerialized economy, the article wonders whether a new stage in the history of capitalism based on learning, knowledge, and intellectual capital has started. The research explores the correlation between intangible investment and the productivity of sectors, economies, and firms, and to discover the formula for the effective deployment of intangible assets to drive growth.

 “Is the pandemic accelerating automation? Don’t be so sure” (Economist, June 19th, 2021). The recovery after COVID-19 is characterised by labour shortages, despite the supposed pandemic-induced automation. The article dismantles the myth of job-killing robots using evidence for US and Australia from 2020-2021: the adoption of new technologies, which however slowed down for lockdowns and travel bans, has not put workers on the economic scrapheap.

 “Pollution reductions during lockdowns can teach us how to build back better a sustainable economy” (, Jean-Philippe Bonardi et al., June 23rd, 2021). This article uncovers a more complex reality linked to the widespread belief that the environment rebounded during COVID-19 lockdowns. According to this analysis, although domestic and international lockdowns prompted a 35-45% reduction in pollution, air quality effects across the world were unequal. When restrictions were placed on some economic activities (transport and industry), people shifted to others (domestic energy).

 “The next pandemic is already here. Covid can teach us how to fight it” (MIT, Maryn McKenna, June 23rd, 2021). The following article considers the presence of new highly contagious pneumonic pandemics and argues that the COVID-19 pandemic should have taught us how to prevent a widespread global crisis. It adds that humans have known the dangers of antimicrobial resistance for years and that we could use what we have learnt during this pandemic, when the growth of new strains occurred in those countries where lockdowns and quarantines were poorly implemented, to contrast this and future pandemics.



“Economists agree about economics – and that’s a science – and they disagree about economic policy because that’s a value judgment.”, Franco Modigliani


 “Europe must fix its fiscal rules” (FT, Maria Demertzis, May 25th, 2021). The suspension of European fiscal rules due to the pandemic paves the way to rethink them. The role of fiscal policies has changed since 1990s from automatic stabilisation mechanisms to active interventions to support the recovery from a severe economic shock. Now, the pooling of risks among countries is needed not only to react to economic crisis, but also to build a green and digital economy in the long term.

 “How central banks saved us from Covid-19” (, Bill English, Ángel Ubide interviewed by Tim Phillips, June 4th, 2021). The abruptness and speed of the economic deterioration caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the sharp increase in market volatility, and the blinding uncertainty over the impact of the pandemic motivated a central bank reaction that was unprecedented in terms of size, speed, and scope. In the following podcast, Bill English, professor of Finance at Yale, and Angel Ubide, head of economic research at Citadel, analyse how well monetary policy coped with the challenge of COVID-19.

 “Assessing Reforms in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans: Italy” (CEPS, Francesco Conti, Jorge Nunez Ferrer, June 11th, 2021). This paper assesses the reforms presented in the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), by looking at their relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and coherence. Detailed information is provided on the proposed means and the timeline of implementation, including which administrations will be involved, and the relevant milestones that can be used to track the implementation of the reforms.


Let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and jobs.

Herbert Hoover […]


Good health is essential to social and economical development and it empowers all of the public sectors.

World Health Organization […]


Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.

Peter Drucker […]

Human Capital

Talent is a source from which water flows constantly renewed. But this source loses its value unless it is properly used.

Ludwig Wittgenstein […]